The weather might have been fair for the 19th annual Collegiate Peaks Trail Run in Buena Vista, Colorado, but that did not inhibit Rock/Creek’s Race Team Member, John Anderson, from placing first on May 2, 2009; finishing in 6:58:49; only five minutes behind the course record and setting the second fastest time in race history. The following is a personal race report from the Boulder, Colorado resident, as he carries us through his day:
“I went up to Buena Vista, Colorado last weekend to get my race season going with the Collegiate Peaks 50 mile and 25 mile Trail Run as everything is finally melting out after a snowy spring. The area is probably better known to the boating crowds from Rock/Creek Down Under but with several Fourteener Peaks and hundreds of miles of trails (including the Colorado Trail) it is a sweet running or hiking destination. I might add, it’s also a good Disco destination if you head to the local watering hole on Wednesday nights.
As I drove into town Friday night I relived some old memories from the several summers that I guided raft trips on the Arkansas River. The race itself is a combo 25 mile and 50 mile event, with the 50 milers turning around and repeating the same loop in the opposite direction. The course is mainly on four wheel drive roads with several miles of single track and a few of pavement. It starts at 8000 feet and has around 5-6000 ft of climbing with some decent climbs. The unpredictable changes in weather conditions influenced my decision for the following technical gear:
Patagonia Nine Trails Jacket and Shorts, Patagonia Silkweight Tee, SmartWool PhD Ultralight Running Socks, and used the Nathan Waist Pack and the Ultimate Directions Handheld bottle.
The race began at the end of Main Street by the river and with a few quick words from the race director we were off into the cold, foggy morning. I settled into my pace and took in the mountain and river views. The weather was cool and overcast for most of the morning; it just felt good to be out there running. At the turnaround there was another 50 miler, Nick Clark (a UK transplant living in Fort Collins) right behind me and a few others within a few minutes. There was a brief moment as I crossed the river and saw the town play hole that I was thinking “Maybe I should have brought my kayak and only done the 25 miler…” Then I remembered that post-run ice baths feel warm compared to the Arkansas River in May.
After the turnaround we had a several mile climb up out of the river and for the next 10 miles or so Nick stayed about 30 seconds or so back and we put 15-20 minutes on the 3rd and 4th place guys. Right before the 38 mile aid station he caught me, and we chatted for a bit as we rolled into refuel. He then put a few steps on me, but I started to feel really good (or really stupid) and decided that I should make a move on the next big climb. I passed Nick and kept running steady and soon put some distance between us. I didn’t see him as I came into the last aid station at mile 44 so I chomped down a gel and headed for the finish.
The final few miles parallel the river on roads and single track, and apart from the headwind I felt pretty good, although I’m pretty sure they added a few extra miles than when I ran the same stretch at the start of the race (just like at the StumpJump 50k where Dawson and the gang seemingly make the parking lot in front of Signal Mountain High School longer at the finish). I came into the finish at 6:58, five minutes off Tony Krupicka’s CR from 2007 and the second fastest time in race history. Nick came in a few minutes later at 7:03 and third place, Bryan Goding, came in at 7:37.
All in all, it was a good race and I was happy with the result. It was my first race since Rock/Creek’s StumpJump 50k & 11 Miler https://www.rockcreek.com/stumpjump/, last year so I was anxious to see how my fitness was coming along for Bighorn. Besides, my brother is moving back here in a few weeks so I’d better be fit so we can pound each other down. It’s time to focus on the Bighorn http://www.bighorntrailrun.com/and get some late race strength. Now, I just need to find a little polyester to wear to Disco night.”
Set your own course records at the Rock/Creek Trail Series. For more information on the series and upcoming races visit: https://www.rockcreek.com/trailseries/
Take a look at the upcoming Greenway 5 Mile Race, ideal for beginners at https://www.rockcreek.com/greenway/